thegardenofearthlydelights, 2008

Installation view: 11th Architectural Biennial of Venice, 2008 © Piero Codato, Cameraphoto Arte, Venezia

Glass dripping in mould by cnc machine
65 x 53 x 25

thegardenofearthlydelights alias Toxic Garden engages with the historical site of the Renaissance garden on Lopud by trying to create a continuity of its actual history and adding a new layer. In this case, the architects introduce the rumors of fear and awe, as it is well documented that the monks of the region actually had standardized their expansive pharmacological knowledge on the medical as well as toxic use of plants and experimented with dosage and effectiveness (possibly on themselves) and the production of antidotes and forms of decontamination. Alongside with the tangible, the intangible heritage is revived and further transformed into an active element of the project—an experiment involving (phyto-)therapy and the confrontation, incorporation and embracement of danger and fear through the actual presence of the toxic substance. More than just participation is taking place: a cathartic cleansing, actively keeping the history intact/alive by accepting it in its very nature. This is also expressed in the morphology of the green house, the form of which actually follows the gravity force by sliding and dripping over the existing terraces—wild in nature rather than domesticated. But, while the randomness is just apparent on the material layer of the carefully “architected” project, the interactions that it triggers represent its indeterminable and experimental aspect. Misunderstandings, in this sense, produce artefacts—in “the garden which forks nowhere’’—and apparatuses can be considered generators of ambiguities and knowledge where non-shaping protocols, protocols of emergences, contingently reveal the conditions of emission and are revealed by them, in a Situationist strategy.

François Roche: *1961 in Paris, France